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Experiencing the differences of a cross-cultural education

Maame Yankah, a junior Economic Development major from Ghana, discusses in an interview the differences of her cross cultural experiences and how it impacted her education and faith. Accustom to the atmosphere of a boarding school for 18 years, Yankah notes the most significant educational difference is what she calls the ‘chew and pour’ Ghanaian system.

She describes the chew and pour structure as a lecture based system where material is generally accepted, without the emphasis of critiquing ideas. As opposed to the American system, which stresses the notion of discussion based learning and challenging arguments. Thus the transition of learning styles proved difficult among the other cultural differences of living in a new country apart from your family.

Another educational difference Yankah mentioned is the rigor of exams. Similar to the SAT’s, Ghana schools have an exam that is cumulative from the three primary years of high school.

Upon her arrival to Philadelphia, Yankah mentioned the immediate difference of the communal atmosphere in Ghana versus the individual awareness which is prevalent among Americans. She then related the acceptance premise to faith as, “Ghanaians seem to accept their faith through an attitude of depending on God for everything”. On the other hand, Yankah mentioned the aspect of faith in the United States as being controversial and the amount of time spent on debating on one’s beliefs. Despite the many difficulties of living in a new country Yankah expressed great joy in being surrounded by the encouragement and support from Eastern. She states, “The community here has made my stay bearable.”

When asked of the two things people should understand about Ghanaians, Yankah said, “Africans are very smart and just because the continent is underdeveloped, doesn’t mean the people are underdeveloped as well. We have the same God-given minds, and when given opportunities we shine.” Secondly, she states, “We are very hospitable and welcoming regardless of where you are we accept you as apart of our community.”

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